James Neil practices his pitching at live play. Photo by Niccolo Snyder/ladailypost.com
The Toppers condition together in preparation for the 2017 season. Photo by Niccolo Snyder/ladailypost.com
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What should you expect from Los Alamos High School’s Toppers Baseball Team this season? Well, the year of 2017 looks exciting and optimistic for our Topper boys. Leading into the spring season, they are expecting a lot of positive growth.
The 2017 Toppers will have to match last season’s squad who went an overall 20-9. The coaches are hoping for a learning year during which they can develop the younger players to create an overall well supported team and not rely on a few key players.
Coach Bryan Neal stressed this point, “The difference between this year’s group and last year’s group is the loss of seniors, but not necessarily a lack of experience.”
The other area that the Toppers are hoping to improve on is the flexibility of all their players. Coach Neal explained, “We are going to have a lot of guys who different guys who do different things, last year guys fell into a certain position for most of the season, this year we must have a lot a different people throwing and this may result in guys playing several different positions.” The coaches are working toward finding the right fit for each player.
Communication is key in baseball. It is a tool that helps the players work together and improve with help from their teammates. So far it looks as though the Toppers are creating a strong bond. The coaches have incorporated mixed practices with the JV and Varsity teams. This will help create a tighter bond between the players. Vincent Marciano seems to think, “All of us are getting tight nit thanks to these practices.” Nicholas Quartieri says, “Our teams strongest asset is our communication and how well we get along.”
The Toppers have a variety of new and returning players. Many players are coming back after a couple years break and are now seniors while others are young and stepping up. Coach Jason Leeches talked about how, “There is a lot of interesting talent, and this is the year that anybody can step up and be the guy to make it happen.” Leeches has faith in his players and thinks that this is the year that, “All the players can come out and blossom into the players they can be.” One of the players Leeches said he was excited about is Antonio Gonzales, a solid all-around player: “Antonio is one of those kids you can plug in anywhere and get the job done,” he said.
Overall the Toppers want to enjoy their play this year. Coach Neal wants to emphasize that, “We don’t think about wins and losses, we measure success on whether or not we controlled what we wanted to control.”
The Toppers first game of the season was Saturday when they played a doubleheader against Sandia Prep. The team’s first home game is March 9 against Hope Christian.